Healthy, Lower Carb Breads and Wraps
Published October 27, 2021 By Anne Cook Carroll, MS, RDN
When you think of weight management, bread probably isn’t one of the first foods that comes to mind. However, the right types of breads and wraps in the right portions can be a part of a healthy diet and supportive of weight loss. In general, a dietary intake of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats and complex (or high fiber) carbohydrates is optimal for overall health and weight management.
The amount of carbohydrates you need is dependent on many factors including age, gender, height, weight, BMI, activity level, overall health status and weight loss goals. We recommend working with a dietitian to assess your individual dietary needs, including your ideal macronutrient intake.
We’ve rounded up our favorite breads, bagels and wraps, including a our guidelines for selection and quick recipe ideas to incorporate them:
What We Look For:
- Serving size: Be sure to take a look at the serving size so you can better understand the nutrition content. For example, some products might have two slices or wraps per serving, but if you are only using one, you can divide the nutritional totals in half.
- Carbohydrates: In general, especially if you are looking to reduce your carbohydrate intake, look for products with around 15 grams of carbohydrates or less per serving.
- Fiber: Look for products with at least a few grams of fiber, which slows down the release of glucose from the carbohydrate during digestion and absorption and helps to keep you fuller for longer.
- Net Carbs: Calculating the net carbs of a product can be helpful in assessing the quality of the carbohydrate. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is not digested and broken down into glucose, so therefore, we can subtract grams of fiber from total carbohydrates to get the net carb count. You can choose a product with slightly higher total carbs if it also has high fiber – look for a net carb total <15 grams.
- Protein: Typically, less processed and refined grains contain more protein, so look for a product that contains at least a couple grams of protein. Protein also helps to make our meals more satisfying, keeping us fuller for longer.
- Additives: Avoid products with a long list of ingredients you don’t recognize, including gums, sugar alcohols and non-nutritive sweeteners, and preservatives. Look for simple, whole food ingredients you can recognize.
- Sugar: Avoid products with added sugar or artificial sweeteners.
Best Sliced Breads:
Food For Life, Flourless Sprouted Grain Bread, Whole Grain
Dave’s Killer Bread, 21 Whole Grains and Seeds Thin-Sliced
Angelic Bake House, Sprouted Whole Grain Bread
Siete, Chickpea Flour Tortillas
La Tortilla Factory, Low-Carb Whole Wheat Tortillas
Caulipower, Cauliflower Tortillas
Outer Aisle, Cauliflower Sandwich Thins
Thrive Market, Organic Coconut Wraps, Original
Quick Recipe Ideas:
- Slice of toast topped with ½ small avocado, lemon juice, pinch of salt and red pepper chili flakes
- Slice of toast topped with 2 eggs, sauteed spinach, pinch of salt and red pepper chili flakes (or try a hot sauce like sriracha)
- Slice of bread/toast with 1 tbsp of nut butter (no salt or sugar added) with ½ sliced banana
- Wrap/tortilla with 3 slices of low-sodium turkey, cucumber, tomato, lettuce and 2 tbsp of hummus
- Tortilla Pizza: Bake a wrap topped with 3 tbsp of tomato sauce, sauteed vegetables, thinly sliced grilled chicken and ⅓ cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, sprinkle with italian seasoning – in a 400 degree oven for 3-5 minutes/until cheese is melted and pizza is hot
- Cauliflower sandwich thins topped with 1 tbsp Kite Hill Cream Cheese, 1-2 slices of smoked salmon, chopped onion, tomato and capers
- Fajita wrap: Sauteed onions, peppers, chicken breast with low-sodium taco seasoning on a wrap, top with 1 tbsp Greek yogurt, shredded lettuce or cabbage, and a few slices of avocado
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“Low-carb breads are often made with a lot of fiber which helps to manage blood sugars, lower cholesterol, increase fullness and promote weight loss. For these reasons, I often suggest low-carb breads as an easy and delicious way to increase fiber intake.”